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OpenStack :: Where Continuous Delivery and Distros Collide

Mark McLoughlin (Red Hat), Thierry Carrez (OpenStack Foundation)
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Like many open-source projects, OpenStack uses a time-based release model. Feature development happens in a flurry of activity in the first part of each release cycle and then we taper, allowing enough time for “many eyes to make shallow bugs” and for us to gain enough confidence in the quality of our release candidates. Even after a release, we continue to maintain a stable branch for issues found and fixed post-release.

Linux distros apply a similar model when they bring together the releases of many open-source projects into a coherent, usable and stable product. OpenStack’s predictable release schedule, the tapering, the stabilization and the post-release maintenance are all essential to the needs of distros and, in turn, the users of those distros.

Unusually, OpenStack also explicitly caters to another type of users – what we call “trunk chasers”. Public cloud providers like HP and Rackspace invest significantly in a continuous delivery pipeline so that they can keep pace with OpenStack development, deploy regularly, give timely feedback upstream and minimize the risk associated with each incremental update. In these days of agile development, DevOps and continuous delivery, the benefits of such a model are now clear.

As such, OpenStack is an important case study for how recent thinking around continuous delivery is influencing open-source projects. Many questions remain unanswered, however. Are we going to continue to see projects like OpenStack see themselves as catering to two radically different audiences, or is this the beginning of fundamental shift in open-source?

Mark and Monty – Openstack Technical Committee and Foundation Board members, prominent OpenStack contributors and senior engineering leaders at Red Hat and HP – have had the opportunity to look at this dilemma from several different angles. In the talk, they will delve into some of the details behind how OpenStack caters to both models. They will examine the mindset and needs of each audience. They will talk about topics such as CI, upgrades, deployment tools, reference architectures, community management, feature development, user feedback and more.

Attendees can hope to learn some more about OpenStack and some of the challenges in running an open-source project, building a distro or maintaining a public cloud. Beyond OpenStack, however, the talk should provide some more general food for thought around the agile development methodologies used by many application developers today versus the methodologies used by open-source projects today.

Mark McLoughlin

Red Hat

Mark McLoughlin is a consulting engineer at Red Hat and has spent over a decade contributing to and leading open source projects like GNOME, Fedora, KVM, qemu, libvirt, oVirt and, of course, OpenStack.

Mark is a member of OpenStack’s technical committee and the OpenStack Foundation board of directors. He contributes mostly to Oslo, Nova and TripleO but will happily dive in to any project.

Mark is responsible for Red Hat’s OpenStack technical direction from the CTO office.

Photo of Thierry Carrez

Thierry Carrez

OpenStack Foundation

Thierry is the Vice-President of Engineering at the OpenStack Foundation, helping ensure the long-term health of the OpenStack open source project by coordinating the effort and facilitating collaboration between contributors. He is the elected chair of the OpenStack Technical Committee, in charge of the technical direction of the project. He spoke about OpenStack and open source development management at various conferences, including EuroPython, OSCON, LinuxCon, and FOSDEM. A Python Software Foundation fellow, he was previously the Technical lead for Ubuntu Server at Canonical, an operational manager for the Gentoo Linux Security Team and an IT manager in various companies.